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tv   [untitled]    February 15, 2015 11:30am-12:01pm PST

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ey become a non-- they almost become invisible. they can't access services, they don't know who to talk to whether it's a school district, i saw that over and over again in the 70's and 80's. nothing was translated and when i asked for it, i'll give you a good example, they had a couple thousand slots for subsidized child care and they would come and say, well, how many, you know, people from this community are actually in these programs? oh, not too many. they don't feel like they need it. what do you mean they don't need it? certainly income eligible they are. well they never sign up. well, why don't they sign up? and they said, well, i have no idea. i guess they don't need it. well, how could they sign up if they don't know about the program and even when they sign up, everything is in english and they don't know how to fill
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out these forms. that's when i went ahead with my organization and say, well, we're going to do it ourselves. within two years they went up with the percentage that was a lot more what it looked like in the city in terms of going for the chinese community in terms of being enrolled in these programs, going from less than 10 percent to near 30 percent. so a lot of it is because of the language access and i get it, you know? in fact, as this stuff is happening even today a neighbor knocked on my door two weeks ago, he's about 90 something and he was shaking and everything and he said oh, last night somebody at midnight tried to break into the back of my home. it was locked and after a little while they left. did you call the police? no, no, i said why not? well, if i call i know they don't understand me so why bother calling them.
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you can see they can't even participate. since the passage, initial passage of the language access ordinance in 2001 san francisco has made great strides in supporting a diverse pop place. however, there's always room for improvement, i concur with supervisor tang we're trying to improve it even further, we raised the bar pretty high for ourselves. in order to ensure equity equal access is required. it is disheartening if the services being offered are unflown and if they are unable to engage in the democratic process simply because of language limitation. the city should be a leader in
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this. they should be leading the way, not trailing. i know we will encounter many challenges along the way but it is worth the effort. we would do ourselves a disservice if they didn't try. i know the board will do everything in our power to provide the support to ensure language is provided at every level. one of the things supervisor tang is very caution of and i support, we don't want to just tell people what to do and then they don't have the resources to get the work done. i realize if something is extra work to get it done, well, people should get extra resources. i want to make one amendment to this. it's in line with what i just said. i would like to propose adding a six-month check in with departments that were formerly categorized as
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tier 2. i know the departments are going to make a good faith effort to comply with the new requirements and i don't want this to be a labor-intensive process. so this does not have to be formally reported it could even be a line of -- to the office of civic engagement and immigrant affairs, i looked at some efforts in terms of recording and although this is not exactly what it is it should be something like this word. it's very simple, two pages, you are not asking somebody to give you a 100-page report. that's not what we want. for me the reason why i want this, add this amendment, is really to look at what's going on with these efforts. because we're going to get that, what kind of resource may be necessary but we don't know for sure. by having this wort at 6
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months it's going to give us an even better handle. we don't want to wait another year and by that time another budget cycle has gone by and we missed the boat again. so this will be helpful in terms of how we can help in terms of making this accessable effort. thank you very much for your time. >> through the chair i'd like to call up adrian pons from ocf >> welcome. >> good morning, supervisors, but it's good afternoon. chair avalos and supervisors tang and yee, thank you for your continued advocacy on behalf of the city's monolingual immigrants and residents. three years ago at the first
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language access hearing ever held in the city, we said language access really needs to be incorporated as a part of conducting normal business for the city. it shouldn't be an afterthought and i'm so happy that our supervisors have really kept up the pressure on departments and really taking the leadership to continue to strengthen our lao we support all of the proposed amendments. i was asked to provide a brief history of the lao implementation for you this morning, i'll try to be really brief. as you know, the original language access ordinance was enacted by the board in 2001 and amended in 2009. the name was changed from the equal access to services ordinance to the language access ordinance, or lao, and since 2009 ocea has been responsible for ensuring city-wide compliance with the law. we work closely with both the 26 named chair 1 department as well as most of the city
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departments that are designated as chair 2 who may or may not think they need to comply with the law. but anyone who provides information or services to the public, we consider to be covered under this law. and while the lao has not always been easy to implement i would say the majority of city departments today take it very seriously and we we have seen significant improvement in the provisioning of language access services over the past 5 years. so our job in ocea is to help city departments successfully meet and serve the language access needs of our residents for whom english is not a first language. you know we can always do better. we've made a lot of progress, but for the 45 percent of the city that doesn't speak english and can't participate in the way that they would like to this is important. we also have a small in-house crew, as you know of
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interpreters and translaters. they are immigrants themselves, totally dedicated city workers and committed to language access. this past week they and some of our mission district community ambassadors actually worked at oewd and the supervisors offices with helping victims and businesses that suffered from the mission and tenderloin fires. so ocea also partners closely with our friends at the san francisco language access network as well as the immigrant rights commission and a lot of other community-based organizations. we provide grants for outreach, education and assistance and a network has really been instrumental in helping us with the lao complaint process which here to forehas been an issue. together we all try to do our very best to serve our
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immigrant and monolingual residents. with the president's executive action soon to be implemented in the next two weeks, actually next week, the issue of language access is critical. while there are 26 states, led by texas, who are fighting to deny undocumented immigrants and youth the right to live, work and stay in the united states, san francisco was one of 33 cities whose mayors filed an amicus brief to support the president's actions. our city stands today as a sanctuary city, a place that not only welcomes and protects immigrants but it fully committed to see they succeed and they can participate in meaningful ways. thank you, supervisors, i'm around if you have any questions.
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>> thank you very much and thank you for your service with the office. thank you. >> call through the chair severen campbell, please. >> good afternoon, chair avalos, severen campbell from the budget analyst's office. two of our recommendations was to eliminate the distinction between tier 1 and tier 2 offices. we did do a second report where we looked at city departments and their expenditures for language access and identified efficiencies in the praus sets. i want to introduce right now mina yu who wrote the report and will give a brief presentation.
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>> good afternoon, supervisors. in order to address supervisor tang's request, we did two rounds of surveys with the city's 53 tier 1 and tier 2 departments. the purpose of the first survey was to get information on overall language access expenditures, bilingual employees, contracts with vendors and ocs services and the purpose of the second was to get (inaudible) possible efficiencies. we received an 85 percent response rate for the first round and a 51 percent response rate for percent response rate for round 2 all the expenditure and service data we have was self-reported by the departments so it shouldn't be regarded as exhaustive or conclusive but we think it is sufficient to make some kupb klueses. one of our
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recommendations will be that ocea work with city departments to ensure contracts for translation and interpretation services are coded correctly in the city's purchasing system. in addition, bilingual employee information does not state whether it is linked to expenditure data. so in fiscal year 13-14 departments reported a 76 million in language access expenditures. that includes bilingual pay, telephonic interpretation through the city's language line third party contracts for document and on-site translation and other services. the vast majority of these expenditures are concentrated in just a few departments like the department of public health, human service agency, elections and police. so first we'd like to talk about the city's bilingual employees because they are central to the city's efforts to adhere to the language access ordinance and we'd like
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to discuss where they are located, how much is being spent, who they are and what they do. so the city has two primary categories of bilingual employees. there are employees who have been certified as eligible to receive bilingual pay and that's currently about 7 percent of the city's overall work force and there are designated bilingual positions which are positions that have specific language requirements attached to them. most of these positions generally require spanish mandarin or cantonese. these are heavily concentrated in just a few departments. next is how much is being spent because it's important to note that although a department may have a lot of bilingual employees it doesn't necessarily mean they are being paid for it. employees are only paid for the hours they are actually using their language skills, which are then reported. so of the overall
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7.6 million dollars in language expenditures, a little less than one-third of that is for bilingual pay premiums and as you can see again very heavily concentrated. we also wanted to figure out who are the bilingual employees and what kind of work they are doing for the city. in order to do that we tried to get a handle on the most common fte classifications for bilingual employees. the city's bilingual positions are heavily concentrated in public health and police. in the same way that expenditures are concentrated in a small number of departments, bilingual employees are concentrated in a relatively small number of fte classifications. these are your social workers, nurses and police officers. they will generally have a broad
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portfolio of responsibilities, not all of which are language oriented so it may not cover the entire spectrum of interactions where a limited english person will need to interact with the city. prrp interpretation for the general public and for other staff members constitute the majority of use for bilingual employees. departments also reported a high use of employees for document translation and web site translation. there are limits to the use of bilingual employees to meeting the requirements of the language access ordinance. in a front line direct service model you are presuming that the needs of a limited english resident and the resources of certified bilingual employees are going to be aligned, but that's not always going to be the case. you may have a
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bilingual speaker who is assigned to a shift or location where the need isn't as great, or a need may come up where a bilingual speaker is not available. this was illustrated in a january 28 story in the examiner which found although the san francisco police department had an adequate number of police officers they are not always in the right spot to respond to realtime issues. having designated bilingual positions could offer some way around this but that assumes some kind of predictability or control of the interactions that they are going to be taking place in a specific context. we imagine there are a lot of issues that come up and they are either dealt with at that time or they are not. the city does have other ways that it attempts to meet the needs of the limited interest public as sheen in the charts, so a number of departments utilize the city wide language line for telephonic
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interpretation. you also have a number of departments who are drawing on the uncertified staff and some departments reported that family members occasionally assist staff in performing interpretation and translation, although there obviously is a strong preference against the use of that option. just to clarify, on the informal interpretation and translation, what the city departments reported was that staff sometimes provide these services without having been certified by dhr, an issue or need comes up, staff happens to speak the language spoken and they address it. departments explained that staff do not pursue certification for several reasons, including an increased demand on workload after certification, a cumbersome certification process and insufficient compensation. although we acknowledge these challenges
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one of our recommendations is that ocea and dhr should work with city departments to more aggressively promote language certification so resources and needs are more accurately tracked. now i'm going to pass it over to my colleague miss mina ew, who will speak to the need for contract interpretation. >> good afternoon, contracts, my name is mina ew, i am with the budget analyst's office. one of the ways is to contract with various third party vendors. so the table here shows that in fiscal year 2013 through 14, departments reported 949,064 dollars in budgeted expenditures for language contracts. we seed
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there is a significant number of document translation contracts being made. additionally that's 33 contracts were made with multiple vendors which says some vendors see multiple contracts. the 33 contracts also span across 14 different departments and we see in the table here that the majority of the contracted amounts are with the department of public health, who received 46 percent, and the human services agency, which received 25 percent. there were several issues that different departments raised with us regarding the use of these vendors. departments reported variable quality resulting in department staff having to spend additional time reviewing the work of these vendors for accuracy. contract rates for similar services will vary by vendor and by department. so an example of this is an interview of 3 of
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hsa's contracts, we saw a range of $45 to $55 for spanish, cantonese and mandarin interpretation services and we also reviewed a contract with the department of environment which showed a rate of $140 an hour for similar services. also several contracts require a two hour minimum, even if the services rendered were beneath the two hours. some departments reported not having the resources to obtain language services from these vendors. some of our findings, one of our recommendations is to consolidate language services into a master contract. similar services are being rendered by various vendors and consolidation would allow for standardization of rates and quality. further, ocr would better be able to monitor the quality of work being provided
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and access to vendor services. in our surveys we also found departments are finding greater use for ocea, particularly chinese. several departments have also expressed a need for occasional assistance from ocea, particularly for community events. there's currently no job classification dedicated fully to translation services, but a comparison of (inaudible) presented in this table here. we see the salary benefits and bilink cal pay is estimated at $100,048, and similar services
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is estimated at $97,000. they are comparable but in house availability, avoidance of the two hour minimum charge and quality of work. in addition to our recommendation of consolidating contracts and using the savings from contractual con suld daition to fund new positions, we are also recommending ocea work with the controller's office to ensure that expenditures are being accurately tracked and pursue the certification of existing employees already drawing upon existing skills. with that we want to thank you for your time and attention and will open it up to your questions and comments. >> thank you, through the chair, just want to thank the budget analyst's office. everyone who worked on this report it really shed light on some of the questions that i raised at the very beginning
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and you just touched upon that in the last presentation about contractual services and being able to consolidate that. i think that in our legislation requiring ocea to have a certified vendor pool is one step towards that because we know different departments have such different needs, whether it's the police department or dph, it can be completely different and maybe standardizing it is not the complete solution but i think what we are try to go do in this legislation will take us one step closer to how we can figure out how to standardize it and make it more cost effective. i don't have any questions for the report, i don't know if supervisor avalos does. >> no i don't. i went true -- through the report and found it very useful. i want to thank you for helping with the process. >> through the chair , at this
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time after public comment we will take some amendments that i propose, as well as supervisor yee, but before we proceed with our first public comment from the language access network i want to thank her and all the people she's been working with as well because it's not just an issue today, they have been working on this for years and years and years making sure people can access our city services so i want to thank you before you come up. >> thank you. we can go on to public comment. i don't have any cards. if anyone wants to come and line up along the wall by the doors, that will be great. >> thank you, supervisor tang and supervisor avalos, as supervisor tang mentioned caa has been working on this issue for a very long time and it's very exciting to have some new champions. i know supervisor
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avalos was very supportive in getting tagalog certified, it was a huge victory and been great to working along with supervisor tang's office. we are grateful you took our feedback seriously. we are comprised of 7 community-based organizations. we are truly working with the communities most impacted by this so we appreciate the opportunity to provide a community perspective. i wanted to share that this year we did something new, we did a spot check program so we are compiling the findings of that, but what it was was eventually a secret shopper program and our staff and volunteers were able to get a realtime assessment of how city departments are performing. we didn't do this in an adversarial manner, we just
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wanted to have a documentation. as the budget analyst's office testified to, there has often been incomplete information and we have been trying to find out what the community experience is on the ground and we look forward to sharing that. additionally i did want to say from our network we think these amendments are moving us in the right direction. we very much would like to stay involved in the implementation. we know city departments face a lot of challenges with resources and training and we would love to perform a perspective of what culturally competent language services really look like to the people who are trying to access them. thank you. >> hi my name is teresa imperial, i'm for the bill for housing program. we are very appreciative of these language access ordinance amendments. kind of want to give an idea of what we do what we do is help
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in filling out applications having people have greater access to housing. and when the article said no more tiers, with this amend about no more tier departments and all departments would require language access as of now, there will be applications themselves are not in different languages which is such a barrier for different communities to apply. that alone for us, too, we conduct workshops in different languages and when developers themselves conduct their workshop it's only english. so this is something that is, the nortion and even post-lottery
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application notices, those are also in english. having these departments required to have language accessability is really a great thing. we are in support of this language access ordinance and the amendments on this. thank you very much. >> thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, my name is chris draw officer from veteran's equity center and housing program. i am probably going to say the same thing, but i want to thank you, supervisor tang, for bringing this forward. it's something we have been struggling with. i have been in community development for 20 years now and i have to say working in immigrant and low income communities the no. 1 issue i have seen and probably why we are organized in certain ways is because people don't have access understanding what is happening, not just access to systems that will help them but also information that will change their kpbs, their
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neighborhood, in very big ways. i am happy this is something that will make it a level playing feed. and with that i
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want, i know you have signage at the recommendation but i want you to also look at applications, you know, access and try to bring that to (inaudible). >> thank you. next speaker please. >> hi, my name is carolyn toleron, i work for the veteran's equity but i also come here, a san francisco resident who has applied for affordable housing and i have applied to the mayor's office of housing community development below market rate rental program and i have stood in line in some of those developments trying to drop off an application and i've seen folks who have been turned away because their primary la


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